Saturday, November 05, 2016 Report by
IT’S NOT ABOUT OUR CLUB, IT’S ABOUT THE ENTIRE COUNTRY: SUNIL CHHETRI
In the battle of many 'first's, JSW Bengaluru FC, first Indian club to feature in the AFC Cup final lock horns with Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, commonly known as Air Force Club, who are also gearing up for their maiden appearance in the AFC Cup Final, at the Suhaim Bin Hamad Stadium (Qatar Sports Club) in Doha on Saturday (November 5, 2016) at 09:30 PM IST (07:00 PM local time).
Speaking at the pre-match Official Press Conference, Sunil Chhetri, Captain JSW Bengaluru FC said the match stays at the “top of the pyramid” in his Footballing career.
"I’ve played many a crucial match in my entire career but this one stays at the top of the pyramid. It’s not only a significant Football match for me and for my Club but for the entire nation and it’s coming at the right time,” he said.
“We can’t predict future, but surely when we hit the ground tomorrow, we’ll push our limits to get the job done,” Chhetri, the Indian Player with the highest number of International goals added.
The match has generated huge interest among NRIs in Doha who have been backing BFC despite their Club allegiances to various other domestic Clubs in Indian Football.
Mr. Praful Patel, President, AIFF has already confirmed to be present at the Qatar SC to cheer for Bengaluru FC, the flag bearer of Indian Football in the continental championship Final.
On being asked how much impact the match has on the entire Indian Football ecosystem, Chhetri, the talismanic striker stated, “it’s going to be massive.”
"I’m living in dreams. I’m hoping it’s going to be massive. We're already in the Final and it has created a huge buzz back in India. Thankfully, I’m part of it and a win tomorrow will be the cherry on the top."
Incidentally, it'll be an intriguing battle between the newest professional club of India and the oldest one from Iraq.
Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca, also present in the pre-match press conference opined: "Yes. It’s difficult. They have scored 26 goals till now and it’s massive. I have spoken to my boys and asked them to be ready for the battle a tough one. It’s going to be an interesting game indeed and we’re ready for it."
Chhetri, however, didn't forget to mention that the onus is on to the Players to keep their emotions in control and play their natural game to churn out a better result.
"Gaffer has asked us not to focus on the environment too much and rather to focus on the game and not to let the atmosphere take over us. See, I’ve been playing for thirteen years; Nishu is there for only one year. But both of us are going to play the most important game of our life. There’s enough to take motivation from,” he maintained.
“End of the day, it’s just another football game and we need to enjoy the game.”
The first-choice goalkeeper Amrinder Singh will, however, be sitting out in the Final because of his bookings in the quarter-final first leg and semi-final second leg.
Furthermore, Cameron Watson is suffering from stomach upset which concerns Roca before the final, but to add some solace to him, Udanta Singh is fit and he’s supposed to play a big part in the game.
On being asked whether the physical prowess of the Iraqi team will get the better of his Team, the Spanish coach felt “physicality can’t take it home unless you play perfect Football.”
"Spanish ‘tiki-taka’ football is not something which needs strongly built ball players. Albeit it’s going to be tough, my Players are up for the job and they are trying hard to get the job done.”
The tickets have been up for sale since today (November 4, 2016) morning and there's been a positive response amongst the Indian citizens staying in Qatar.
The travelling fans of Bengaluru FC have also reached the Capital city of Qatar and they are expected to set the tone of the grand Final.
The match is slated to kick-off at 09:30 PM IST (07:00 PM Local Time) and it'll be telecast on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD 1.